SpaceX successfully recovered Falcon Heavy’s nosecone, and it’s going to space again

Jan Cross
April 13, 2019

The Falcon Heavy is the most powerful rocket at work today.

SpaceX launches Falcon Heavy and lands all three rocket boosters for the first time.

Believe it or not, the trio of boosters aren't the only things that SpaceX managed to recover.

The total cost of one of its Falcon 9 launches is estimated to reach £44 million ($61m), while each of its larger Falcon Heavy flights costs £65 million ($90m). The rocket landed successfully, completing a triple landing for SpaceX during the Arabsat 6A satellite launch on April 11, 2019.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule, atop a Falcon 9 rocket, cleared its first unmanned test flight in March ahead of its crewed mission planned for July, while the first unmanned test for Boeing's Starliner capsule is scheduled for August on ULA's Atlas 5 rocket.

After some minor delays, the mission blasted off at 03:35 p.m. PDT (06:35 p.m. EDT) from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida - the same site where the Apollo missions all took off from.

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For its first commercial mission, the payload was a communications satellite built by Riyadh-based telecom Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Arabsat).

The launch marks the Falcon Heavy's second-ever trip to space, as well as its first commercial mission, as the megarocket carried Lockheed Martin's Arabsat 6A communications satellite into orbit.

As shown in the video below, the rocket's two side boosters landed successfully at SpaceX's Landing Zones 1 and 2 at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

'Both fairings recovered, ' Musk wrote in a tweet. Musk says SpaceX plans on reusing the fairings during the launch of its own Starlink satellite mission later this year. While many SpaceX fairings have been pulled from the water over the years and put back into service, the ultimate goal is to avoid having to refurbish the components to deal with corrosion caused by salt water - which is expensive and time-consuming.

The latest launch marked the first time Falcon Heavy flies using the new Block 5 hardware, which is created to last longer than previous versions without the need for refurbishment.

During its first Falcon Heavy launch in February 2018, the firm landed two of the firms side boosters simultaneously on separate launchpads. These boosters have been part of the Falcon 9 rocket for nearly a year and offer better thrust, improved landing legs and other features that make retrieval easier. But this time the main core touched down safely on the droneship "Of Course I Still Love You".

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